Such Ferocious Beauty | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, November 30th, 2023  

Cowboy Junkies

Such Ferocious Beauty

Cooking Vinyl

Aug 01, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Albums can stand or fall on their opening tracks. Start with a damp squib and already the listener is looking anxiously at their “to do” list for the day. Start with something powerful and the listener will spend the length of the record in the palm of the artists’ hand. Such Ferocious Beauty starts with “What I Lost.” And from there on, you’re transfixed for the duration of the record.

It’s reassuring to know that after a lengthy career, Cowboy Junkies still have an edge. Swerving away from polite self-parody, it’s great to see them still pushing at the boundaries of what they are supposed to be. “Flood” starts with a squall of feedback, which settles into an insistent mid-tempo groove. Margo Timmins’ voice has avoided the ravages of time and uncurls gracefully over this and all the songs on the record.

Originally written and recorded in 2020 and 2021, the album captures the feeling of unease prevalent in those COVID-dominated years. But while the whole world was on edge, Margo, Michael, and Peter Timmins were trying to cope with the dementia and subsequent death of their father.

On “Mike Tyson (Here it Comes),” it’s hard to decide if the band are celebrating fatalism or looking hopefully towards an uncertain future. The tension in the music may indicate the former, but when Margo sings “All the wasps have come alive / There’s whistling again in the evening sky / Here it comes,” she hints at hope. Maybe.

The album finishes with “Blue Skies”—a beautiful and plangent ballad. It’s the perfect way to end a superb record. A record that takes the most heartbreaking and difficult subject matter and weaves it into something strangely uplifting. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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